Pharrell Williams song ‘Happy’ makes listeners happier than any other song, new analysis finds

Pharrell Williams song ‘Happy’ makes listeners happier than any other song, new analysis finds

The happiest and saddest songs have been ranked based on how they convey emotion to listeners.

Following the latest Spotify Wrapped reveal, a researcher conducted anaylysis on some of the most streamed songs to establish which were the happiest and saddest.

From the data, Pharrell Williams’ 2013 song “Happy” was found to convey the most amount of joy to the listener.

In terms of sad songs, it was Nirvana’s 1991 track “Something In The Way” that made listeners the most miserable.

To discover the results, data company HappyOrNot collaborated with Durham University music expert Annaliese Micallef Grimaud to look at some of the most widely known songs considered happy and sad.

They then analysed these using criteria such as vocal pitch to discover which of them best conveyed the intended emotion.

The top five songs that brought the most joy after “Happy” were “Hey Ya” by Outkast, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone.

In terms of what makes us feel glum, “Everybody Hurts” by REM was right behind Nirvana, with Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”, Alice In Chains’ “Nutshell” and Pearl Jam’s “Black” following that.

HappyOrNot is the creator of the four smileys which enable users to give feedback.

Discussing the research, Miika Mäkitalo, CEO, said “It’s no secret that music can profoundly affect how we feel, or that musicians can seek to express their feelings at a certain time or about a certain topic through their work.”

“In my research, I explore how people, irrespective of their musical knowledge (if any), think different emotions should sound like in music,” said PhD Grimaud.

“The formulas give us a good indication of which songs are most expressing sadness and joy,” she added.